Battery Efficiency Improved 400 Times by Accident!

Everything these days uses batteries of some kind or another, from the smartphone you use to text your friends to the tablets and electronic tools you use at work or school every day. In a surprising twist, researchers at UC Irvine may have discovered a way to increase the time a battery holds the charge by complete accident.

The discovery comes as the researchers were looking at creating a solid-state battery using an electrolyte gel, similar to the ones developed by Cockrell School of Engineering in Texas. The idea was to use the gel to replace the lithium inside a battery, a component that corrodes and creates the nasty smelling ooze you get on batteries you find at the back of your kitchen draws when you go looking for just one more battery.

Using gold nanowires to store the electricity within the battery, the new design lasted through 200,000 recharges without any significant decline in battery life or corrosion, something which they can’t explain. Reginald Penner, the lead author of the paper, stated that they “don’t understand the mechanism of that yet”.

Lasting more than 400 times longer than a traditional battery, Penner explained their experiment was like pouring water between two cups, the end results was the new batteries losing only 5% of their charge over 200,000 times.

While a great start to making effective batteries, introducing gold to any electrical component increases its cost and raises the question, could this new style of battery, combining a gel with thin wires of metal, use something other than gold to achieve similar results?

Monopoly Money Goes Electronic!

People enjoy playing video games, but often you just want to sit down at a table with friends and family and play a game, something that is known to cause conflict or start arguments. No game is more famous for this than Monopoly, the game where you use your money to buy, sell and charge rent for properties across famous locations. You could soon see the game change though with the new Ultimate Banking edition.

More than often enough you would find yourselves shoveling notes from one player to another, with a dedicated banker to not only play but handle the cash. The latest game though does away with everything involved with that corrupt and sly banker, instead replacing it with an ATM and debit cards.

Each player will be able to use their debit card to purchase properties by scanning a properties bar codes then their debit card. A second later and you’re the proud owner of the property, with your bank account showing the natural damage.

The game even allows you to transfer money from one player to another, to pay those high-end rents that often end games and friendships. The new version of Monopoly will set you back $25 (roughly £17.5), enough to let you buy it without breaking your own bank.

Europe Mismanages Disposal Of Discarded Electronics

A ticking timebomb is in the form of the correct way to dispose electronic waste, the globe is producing unit upon unit of the latest gadget which in turn pumps chemicals and materials into these devices. The turnaround from purchase to waste is even shorter than ever and protocols need to be implemented with the aim of recycling, which decreases the environmental impact on the plant as possible.

Unfortunately, A European Union Funded project in conjunction with Interpol, the United Nations University, United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute, the WEEE Forum, the Cross Border Research Association, Zanasi and Partners and Compliance and Risks has found rather poor statistics.

They have found in Europe, “just 35% (3.3 million tonnes of 9.5 million tonnes) of used (but still functioning) and waste electronics and electrical equipment discarded by companies and consumers in 2012 wound up in official collection and recycling systems”. What happened to 6.2 million tonnes? It’s not like companies made it disappear, (reads more information) OK it is like companies made it disappear as the rest of the waste was “either exported, recycled under non-compliant conditions or simply thrown in waste bins”.

Responsible manufacturing and consumers who buy these electronics need to bear in mind disposal when throwing away items. The raw materials are toxic, think chlorofluorocarbons in fridges or Benzene and n-hexane which are chemicals thought to cause cancer and nerve damage, not such a problem? These chemicals have been used in the production of Apple products up until 2014.

Of course, as this report illustrates, an unknown but damaging factor is the criminal gangs who thrive off the illegal waste supply chain in some countries. Disposal of electronic waste is essential considering the amount which is being manufactured with the ratio increasing year on year, hopefully, more can be achieved in this area to decrease humans carbon footprint on the earth.

Thank you economictimes for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of open-electronics

Get Ready To Lick Your TV, Electronic Taste May Be Coming To The Living Room

OK so don’t actually try lick your display just yet, chances are it just tastes of screen cleaner or something worse. However, in the near future it may be possible that you can put your tongue to work while enjoying a TV show to sample what ever is on screen… yes, that really does sound creepy doesn’t it.

Scientists have developed a simulator that uses electrodes to stimulate the taste buds on the tongue, allowing it to reproduce salt, sweet, sour and bitter sensations. The Digital State Interface then uses subtle temperature changes to alter the taste experience.

The researchers hope that the system could be used in the future to allow viewers to taste objects that they can see on screen, such as trying a new food that is being advertised or maybe just taking a taste of something from a cooking show, although I’m sure many of our readers can think of funnier things to taste.

The idea is pretty cool, it has applications for computer games, educational purposes and no doubt a whole lot more. Although the whole concept still sounds very strange to me. I fear you may look plenty stupid licking a USB device while watching TV.

Not only that, but the team behind the device are trying to create a digital lollipop that can simulate the real thing, but remove the risk of harm to your teeth, or the chance of putting on weight.

Thank you Telegraph for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Telegraph.